The pleas of various Christian sects seeking space for burial grounds in the city of Panjim which was rejected by the Corporation of the city of Panjim (CCP) last Friday, with its mayor Carolina Po telling the media that the feeling among the corporators was that the people who have converted to other sects should ask those people who led them to convert, to provide burial grounds, came in for scathing criticism from leaders of various Christian sects across Goa.
Some Christian sects such as the Syrian and Methodist Christian sects had reportedly applied for burial grounds from the CCP which was rejected by the Panjim corporators under the fear that these sects have their numbers scattered all over Goa and granting them a burial ground would therefore result in all their dead being brought from all over Goa, to Panjim to be buried. This was in pursuance of the CCP's resolve under a resolution passed by the CCP last year banning burial of persons not living in the jurisdiction of Panjim city. The cemeteries in the city of Panjim are being run by the Municipal body.
However various leaders of different Christian sects from Goa took strong exception to the Mayors comments and termed it undemocratic and a violation of human rights. At a meeting held by the various Christian sects in Margao, the members and pastors of such sects lamented the lack of democracy in the comments and urged people in public positions not to make such strong statements which could lead to a flare-up.
The pastors belonging to New life fellowship church of Panjim, Margao and Vasco, Parakletos Church, Margao, Corner stone church Margao, Mount Zion Church, Good News Church, River of Life Church Panjim, Good Hope Church and Methodist Church were present at the meeting.
A pastor of a River of Life Church Panjim criticised the comments of the mayor saying that there is no question of anybody converting them and that they have chosen to be members of a certain sect out of their own free will and asked the government to look after the interest of all citizens irrespective of their religious backgrounds.
Another pastor pointed out that it is the constitutional right of every citizen to be buried after death and said that burial cannot be denied on any grounds leave alone the religious ground